The Department of Agriculture (DA) provided thousands of farmers, fishers, and indigenous peoples (IPs) in Quezon province P1.42-billion worth of farm and fishery inputs, farm machinery, livelihood projects, and cash and food aid to help them recover from the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and damages caused by strong typhoons.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar recently led the handing over and distribution of interventions, coinciding with the launch of the Cash and Food Subsidy for Marginal Farmers and Fisherfolk (CFSMFF) program in Tayabas City, with an allotment of P177 million for Quezon province.

It is part of the total P4.5-B CFSMFF program funded under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.

The DA through the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) also distributed P304-M worth of farm machinery for rice farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs), which is part of the annual P10-B Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

“The Province of Quezon and the whole region of CALABARZON are very important to our agricultural economy. The region continues to showcase agri-industrialization in many ways, but of course, you will need to have continuous production, and value-adding agri-business approach will be critical,” Dar said during the event.

“Even after several typhoons hit the country, CALABARZON could continuously supply the food requirements of Metro Manila.”

The agriculture chief added that even after several typhoons hit the country, CALABARZON, along with MIMAROPA, Central Luzon, and the regions in Visayas and Mindanao, could continuously supply the food requirements of Metro Manila.

Through the RCEF, qualified FCAs will be awarded farm machinery such as four-wheel tractors, precision seeders, combine harvesters, and mechanical dryers to increase yield and reduce postharvest losses.

The CFSMFF program aims to benefit a total of 890,794 marginal farmers — planting corn, coconut, and sugarcane — fisherfolk, and IPs, who will each receive P3,000 in cash and P2,000 in food aid that include P1,000-worth of rice and P1,000-worth of chicken and eggs.

“In Quezon, 35,523 farmers, fisherfolk, and IPs will benefit from the program, and 80,000 beneficiaries for the entire CALABARZON region.”

In Quezon, 35,523 farmers, fisherfolk, and IPs will benefit from the program, and 80,000 beneficiaries for the entire CALABARZON region said DA-4A Regional Director Arnel de Mesa.

The DA has partnered with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and rice farmers’ and poultry industry groups to implement the CFSMFF program nationwide.

The DA-4A Regional Field Office (RFO) also allotted P640-M worth of various agricultural inputs, including P120 M for the establishment of the Sariaya trading post and cold storages in Candelaria and Tayabas.

Quezon farmers can also avail of loans with no interest through the DA-Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC) Survival and Recovery Assistance (SURE Aid) program with a budget of P47.8 million under the Bayanihan 1 and P100 million under Bayanihan 2.

In addition, the DA’s Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) allotted P35 M for agricultural inputs and coconut-dairy intercropping projects in Quezon, while the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) committed P118 M for the province’s fisherfolk.

“Tulung-tulong lang, aahon ang ating bansa. Malaki ang maiaambag ng agrikultura sa paglago muli ng ating ekonomiya. With our partnership with the local chief executives, our congressmen and congresswomen, hindi kami titigil na i-advance ang sektor ng agrikultura dito sa Quezon at sa buong bansa,” Secretary Dar said as he commended the farmers and fisherfolk for the positive growth of the sector, during the second and third quarters despite the pandemic and several typhoons.

The agriculture sector was considered by the country’s economic managers as the saving grace, as it managed to grow by 1.6 percent (%) in the second quarter and 1.2 % in the third quarter of 2020, at the height of the community lockdowns and harsh weather conditions.

Quezon 1st District Representative and House Agriculture and Food Committee Chairperson Wilfrido Mark Enverga, 4th District Representative Angelina Tan, Governor Danilo Suarez, Tayabas City Mayor Ernida Reynoso, and several municipal mayors and provincial board members attended the event.

Dar and Director de Mesa were also joined by DBP President Emmanuel Herbosa, and other DA officials that included PhilMech Director Baldwin Jallorina, BFAR Director Eduardo Gongona, PCA Administrator Benjamin Madrigal, Jr., and Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica, ACPC Director Tina Lopez, DA-Field Operations Service Director Roy Abaya, and DA Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary for Strategic communications Noel Reyes. 


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